By Amber "Aurael" Weldon
Fly for Fun (or Flyff, as it's more commonly known) is a free-to-play import that's available from Gala-Net. Roika (Flyff's world) has been available since 2004 and is still going strong. I chose Fly for Fun for my first foray into free-to-play games just for this reason. It has a good following after four years of service, so there must be something about it that is worth giving it a once-over. Plus, you get to fly. Who doesn't want that?
Starting the game is quite easy, you register for a Gala-net account on the official site, then click the big "Download Now" button. The download isn't too bad, but the patching process is a tad lengthy. After you finally get patched and logged in, you'll be taken to the character creation screen.
The character creation screen is a bit lacking.
I have to admit being a tad disappointed when I saw the complete lack of customization available for your character. There are four ways you can customize your character: gender, hair style, hair color, and face. The character models are a sort of cartoony cute and the customization really doesn't do much to distinguish one character from another. Not to worry, however, I found merchants in game who were more than willing to change your look for a few thousand penya (the form of money in the world of Roika).
There is no class to pick at the start, because you do not choose your class (known as a job in Flyff) until you are level 15. Everyone begins with the job title of Vagrant. Once you reach level 15, you can choose one of four job types: Mercenary, Assist, Magician or Acrobat.
My character first appeared in the colorful central portion of the city of Flarine. This is the main hub for the newbie area and it is busy! Chat bubbles fill up the square. That's right, people in Flarine are a talkative bunch. There are class trainers touting the superiority of their job over all others, novelists bemoaning the lack of book subjects, vendors who are begging you to buy their wares, and Welcome Office workers calling for all beginners to come to them. Once I began to be able to distinguish the area underneath the chat bubbles, I headed toward the Welcome Office workers. A nice buff was given by the NPC representing the game's guide. A little penguin guides your way through Roika. He resides in the lower right hand portion of your screen but he sleeps most of time. I did notice helpful little hints that he inserted in the chat box, such as "hit the space bar to jump". Other than alerting me about the guide, the Welcome Office didn't tell me much.
Most of the NPCs don't have a lot to say to a level one Vagrant, other than introducing themselves. There is little help or direction given to guide you as to what you should do to get started. So, I did what any good gamer would do, I consulted the "Getting Started" section of the official website. There, I found out that I would not get any quests until level 7! So what to do until then? I chose taking my boredom out on the beasties surrounding the city.
Combat is that much sweeter in a pretty locale.
The first beasts you encounter are little flying eyeballs called "Aibatts". These mobs are quite easy (naturally) and responded well to my clumsy and inexperienced attacks by promptly dying. A few hundred bats later and I found myself at level 4, where I took to looking for bigger beasties. By level 7, I was quite ready for a quest to break the monotony of simply slaying in order to gain levels.
Combat is quite easy in this game. Each job has specific skill trees in which you can put points with every level gained. In addition to the skill trees, each level gives you points to distribute in your stats. There are four stats to increase: intelligence, dexterity, strength and stamina. Each of these affects the three main status bars in the character window. These status bars are the only thing you really have to pay attention to while in combat. The first is your health bar, the second your mana bar and the third is your fight points bar. Mana is used for spells (Vagrants cannot do spells). The skills available in the skill tree for Vagrants are all melee skills, which take fight points.
Now I have not yet reached that enviable level fifteen to be able to change up my skills a bit, but I'm more than ready to stick it out until I get there. This game has many good features that make the gameplay enjoyable until you start hitting the much-desired content of the game. The graphics are beautiful. I did not expect much from a free-to-play game, but I was pleasantly surprised with Flyff. The background music is, like the game, bubbly and cute. It's like something you might hear playing softly in the background while shopping at a mall, but not unpleasant. The community is very helpful and nice. Help is readily given when asked for, whether it is directions to local beasties or a question about which job is the better choice. The world of Flyff is all-around quite pleasant and pretty.
Flyff is quite different from anything else that I've played. It might very well be a role-player's dream, because your experiences depend completely on your choices. Just as in real life, you are not given a manual which tells you how to live your life. You are not given specific instructions as to what you should do, where and how to do it. You are given basic directions (how to move, how to attack) and the rest is up to you. If you are given a quest, you must get out and experience the world yourself in order to find out how to complete it. Decisions you make early on (as to where you put your stat points for example) will help or hurt you when you choose a career later in life. Every player has the same opportunities as all others. Players can set up a personal store to sell goods, collect resources from collecting grounds, or simply help the local citizens with quests. The world is wide-open.
One drawback (in my eyes at least) to the roleplaying aspect is that anything that can be worn (from shirts to shoes) has a gender designation. So if I find a pair of Pike boots, it doesn't matter that they blow my cotton boots out of the water, they can only be worn by a male character. Now some people might like this, but I find it too restricting. Besides, my little character is a bit of a tomboy and likes boys' shoes. She's just not allowed to wear them. It's enough to make a girl go kill some Puke-Pukes in retaliation.
What about Flying? It is called Fly for Fun, after all.
At level 20, players will gain their flying skill and can purchase a broom or a board in order to fly. The cheapest brooms and boards sell for 3000 penya. This may seem like a lot, but by level 10, I had over 10,000 penya just from questing, and that was after buying a decent sword and armor. So, everyone will be able to fly at level 20.
This is just a first look at Fly for Fun. I had my moments of doubt at the early beginning, but now that I have a few quests under my belt and I'm close enough to getting a job that I can already feel the boss's eyes searing a hole in my collar, I'm ready to see what trouble I can get into in the world of Roika.
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